Monday, March 31, 2014

Everyday Occupations

I'm often searching censuses and historical books for clues into different occupations for 19th century characters. I love reading the censuses from areas where I'm setting a book, as an example from St. Augustine, FL, for my current three book series. The census gives me a clue into what various people did in the town or city during the time frame I'm writing about.

All of that is to say I came across this little gem for those of us who write Historical Fiction it's a Boston Primer but sometimes school books can be very helpful.

Every Day Occupations ©1891

Here's an example:

To the ordinary potters are due the brown pans of the kitchen, our cheap tea and dinner sets, better sets of white and gold — often in several hundred pieces — and ornamental dishes of all shapes, designs, and prices. To the intelligence which directs their making must be added the genius of designers who decide the patterns, and of first-rate artists who paint the articles. So much valued is the very best ware, that royal porcelain factories were supported at Sevres near Paris, and at Dresden in Germany, whose productions were fit presents for royalty.
Costly candelabra, flower-stands, enriched with colors and gold, burned in to last for ages, figures for ornament, reduced copies of sculpture and vases, in spotless Parian of every form of beauty, are found in rich homes of taste. The poorest, too, share in the benefits from the potter's art. It has long banished the old pewter platters and wooden trenchers of our forefathers, and given us instead an abundance of cheap, clean, bright and beautiful earthenware, which, if easily broken, is as easily replaced. Worcester is the seat of English trade in the finest china or porcelain, though a great part of the raw material is brought from afar. The great bulk of our earthenware is made in New Jersey.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Easter Parade Hats Expenses of for 1896

Below is an amazing article on the costs of hats for Easter in the U.S. for 1896 Easter Parades. This report comes from the Annual Report of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture ©1897.

There took place in Atlantic City last Sunday the most extravagant parade the resort has ever seen—the parade of the Easter hats. More hats and more expensive ones, were sold than ever before.
There are 10,000,000 women in the United States old enough and rich enough to wear Easter hats. These 10,000,000 women spent $100,000,000 upon Easter hats. This places each hat at an average of $10.
Many wore Easter hats that cost less. Miss Poverty Row bought only a bunch of violets, which she pinned on last year's frame—total cost 15 cents. Miss Upper Flat purchased a hat upon the bargain counter and got a cheap wreath plume to dress it out with—cost $1.50. And some bought no hat at allcost absolutely nothing. But Mrs. Veryrich, on the next street, whose back windows lookrd into the rear ones of Miss Poverty Row, purchased an Easter hat that cost $40, and that is where the matter evened Itself up.
Mary Ellen Lease would say: "It one women went without an Easter hat It was because some other woman had a hat that cost twice as much as it ought to." But that is another story and does not affect the enormous figures that must be thought out, when the Easter parade of last Sunday is figured.
Of the one hundred million dollars spent on hats,
Twenty-five millions went for ostrich plumes.
Five millions went on Bird of Paradise feathers.
Birds, wings and other feathers cost six millions more.
Twenty millions were spent for ribbons.
Flowers cost fifteen millions.
The straw hats themselves footed up to ten millions. The labor upon the hats is estimated at ten millions moTe. The wire that was covered with velvet and twisted into hats cost eight millions.
Incidentals, linings, trimmings, etc., came to a million.
The ostrich plumes cost one-quarter of the entire Easter outlay. The work of getting these plumes and the high price at which they can be held year after year is responsible for the expense of the Easter hat. Ostrich farming is both uncertain and expensive. The land Is held high in California and South Africa, where the birds can live, and even when once secured the ostrich is a hard bird to raise. The feathers must be plucked when exactly "ripe" or they crack after being dried and are useless as far as high prices are concerned. In the natural state they are brown or gray, and unlike the plumes of commerce, until they are dried, dyed and seasoned and curled. They bear no resemblance to the original feather beyond the featherlness which Is the charm of the Easter hat.
The ostrich plume acts as a frame to the hat, Just as the hat frames tht face, and its demand year after year shows the high esteem In which it is held by milliners and women. Birds of paradise plumes are the costliest of all decorations for the money, and "pay" so well that the ladies of France raise them for pets and sell the feathers.
The cost of the ribbon begins, like the plume, at the animal that bears it. The silk must go through all the processes of manufacture from the time it is unwound from the cocoon of the silk worm until it comes into the mill ready for the weavers.
After the silky fibre has gone through the mill and comes out ribbon, yards and yards long, it passes into the hands of thousands of pretty girls, who take it and wind it upon wooden bolts, carefully laying a strip of paper in each revolution until It is wound tight and hard—a roll of ribbon. In more modern mills, with winding machinery, they stand ready to feed the paper strips to the maichine that turns and twists the roll of ribbon, until it lies flat and hard and smooth ready for the shop counter.
The making of flowers is one of the most interesting steps in the manufacture of hats that paraded so gorgeously last Sunday. This is done in back streets by men, women and children, who take home the flowers to make. They are mostly foreigners and do the work at sweaters' prices. To get the privilege of making the flowers and to obtain enough raw material to work upon they must deposit a considerable sum of money with the flower manufacturer, which is held as a guarantee that they will bring back the materials made into sellable flowers.
The more expensive roses and the silk violets are made at long tables In the factories by all who can handle them deftly. This is work that the Chinese have long tried to get on account of their skill at handling small things. But the Greeks have outbidden the Chinese on personal grounds, and they do most of the work. Men, women and children gather around the tables, the men and children banding up the bits and the women wiring, sewing and twisting them into the wonderful flowers that bloom on my lady's hat.
The making of the hat frames is remarkable, for It is mostly done by hand. German wire twisters, with a marvelous facility for turning the wrists quickly, take the long strips of silk-covered wire and turn out a hat brim with lightning rapidity. Those who have ever seen the ladies of Berlin at work upon their wonderful beaded passementerie which the wealthiest of them make for the shops, will appreciate this almost sleight-of-hand with which German women twist the wire hats.
In good old colonial days, when imported servants were scarce and very dear, the good old puritanical dames who were beginning to get a taste for dress took care to bring over none but workers upon wire and weavers of silk and wool. And this accounts for the marvelous creations in millinery which adorned the heads of our grandaunts of a century ago.
Of the one hundred million spent for hats one million only went for "labor." This means the labor of putting the hat together. The girl who sat up late at night for six weeks before Easter poising the bird of paradise upon the side of the English walking hat, so that it would float far behind my lady's head, who heaped ribbons at the back to make her the acme of grace and style, who stood bird wings In profusion around the crown to give the hat that exquisite Parisian chic, and studied every art of color to place the ribbons and flowers so as to win approbation and dollars, got only one million, minus "incidentals," divided among thousands of her. The statistician got down to twenty cents for trimming each hat, and stopped for fear of getting it too low if he investigated further.
But a girl can trim more than one hat a day, so she is satisfied. And she works willingly to bring forth the brilliant plumage which is the pride of the Easter parade.
Horace Greeley, In one of his addresses to working men, showed that a man, if he were to make his own watch, would work a lifetime. The digging of the gold, the melting, the refining and shaping, the making of the machinery and placing of it In the frame, and finally the adjustment of the watch, each would require months of work and study. Before completing his watch he .would have to learn twenty-seven trades and occupations and go into forty-seven distinct employments to the final polishing and burnishing of the case and the making of the spring to close it. But by division of labor he "makes" his watch in much less time.
So with the Easter hat. The man off on the ostrich farm, the dyer in the factory, the ribbon weaver, the girl who winds, the flower maker and the wire twister, all work industriously, with the result that my lady came last Sunday Queen of Easter in a gorgeous production that she would not have produced herself had she worked until too bent and too old to enjoy the sun and sky.
I am informed by a member of the House of Representatives that in one of the counties in the western part of Pennsylvania a professional "bird hunter" has for some years past engaged extensively in the slaughter of bright-plumaged and other insect-eating birds. He skins and preserves the harmless creatures, and ships large consignments, several times each year, to Europe. It is believed these skins are used in the millinery trade.
Hon. Wm. M. Kennedy, of Allegheny City, President of the Board of Game Commissioners, and his colleagues, have prepared a section in the game bill which, if it becomes a law, will unquestionably put a sudden stop to this kind of wanton bird-butchery.
The Pittsburg Commercial Gazette of January 25th, 18i)7, says, in referring to the annihilation of bright-coated birds:
"The State Game Commission Is particularly interested in the protection ol song and beneficial birds. The destruction of these birds is being carried on to an alarming extent for millinery and other purposes. The absolute necessity for preserving the lives of these insect-eaters is a matter that the State Agricultural Department is giving considerable attention. Fine plumaged birds are killed irrespective of their species. Hunters send them to the East, where the feathers are used in the large millinery stores for the decoration of hats. This fact is receiving some attention from women's societies throughout the State. It Is not desired that the birds should be killed mereiy for the gratification of a fashionable whim. The birds are useful so long as they destroy the Insects that do so much harm to farm crops."
A correspondent from Elk County, Pa., writes to the Department of Agriculture, under date of April 4th, 1S97, as follows:
"Our county is well adapted to all kinds of game, as it was at one time covered with a dense growth of hemlock, and as the bark was used by our tanneries in large quantities, much waste land is the result. A new growth of a different forest vegetation is coming up, which will be very suitable as a trysting place for birds, wild animals, and fish. I also mentioned the killing of robins; they were killed by the farmers during the time of ripe cherries, and now and then by some of our latest importation of Huns and Italians, who eat them. Last year a very marked decrease in the robins was noticeable, and as yet we have but few this spring."
In one consignment recently a feather dealer In London received 6000 birds of paradise. 360,000 birds of various kinds from the East Indies, and 400,000 humming birds. In three months another dealer imported 356,398 birds from the East Indies. Some of our most desirable birds are threatened with extermination. The common quail and ruffed grouse are becoming very scarce. Wrens and bluebirds are driven from their old haunts by sparrows. Terns are slaughtered by thousands for the millinery business, and Florida is similarly despoiled of its herons, ibis, pelicans, and smaller birds. The wild pigeon has disappeared. Fashion at present is the greatest enemy of bird life, but collectors of eggs are also responsible for great destruction. Protection of birds must come through the education of the people, especially the rising generation, and by protective legislation sustained by game wardens. Thus far no state legislature has given the subject the attention it deserves and must soon demand, if the present ravages continue.—St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

Friday, March 28, 2014


Okay for those of us who write historical fiction we tend to sit at our computers with jeans, shorts, pajamas, whatever meets our fancy at the moment. We're relaxed and we enjoy running out on errands without dressing up. One of my frustrations has been understanding how my characters enjoyed wearing some of the outfits I've seen in fashion magazines. Personally, I'm a much more casual dresser. I don't mind dressing-up for the right occasion but I'm much more comfy in my shorts and loose fitting tees.

All of that is to prelude why I wanted to share this tidbit with all of you. It's kinda nice to find someone from the past who thinks a bit like me. So much so, that they signed a statement saying so. The article comes from Arthur's Illustrated Home Magazine ©1874

PERHAPS among all the foolish and absurd requirements of fashion there Is nothing, if we make the one single exception of tight lacing, which is so ridiculous, so disgusting and so contrary to all ideas of appropriateness and delicacy, as that of sweeping the streets with the skirt of the dross, and gathering upon it all the mud and filth with which it comes in contact. Yet many women do this because they hardly dare set themselves in opposition to
prevailing custom. They would gladly assert their independence if they really knew how to do so.
Several ladies of Vlneland, New Jersey, wishing to gauge popular sentiment in this matter, and find really how many women would prefer being sensible to being ultra-fashionable, drew up a paper to which they appended their own names, and then circulated for signatures. The paper read as follows:
"We, the undersigned, pledge ourselves to shorten the skirts of our dresses to four inches from the ground provided twenty-five ladies can be found who will sign this pledge."
Within two days the pledge had twenty-two names appended, and, no doubt,by this time, the full number required is obtained. But tho ladies, pleased with their success, do not purpose to stop at the twenty-five names. They desire to see how many women there are throughout the country who aro willing to go with them in this very mild crusade against fashion, a crusade which involves no startling change of dress, but which will allow a lady to walk the streets unnoticed save by thoso who may remark her good sense in refusing to bo a scavenger. They therefore make the request that all women throughout the country who are willing to take this slight step toward dress reform, will send their names to Mrs. E. B. Duffey, Vineland, N. J., and they shall be recorded in a book which shall bear the title "The Sensible Women of America;" and, in time, if the facts justify, a report shall be made of the number of names recorded.
These ladies expect the co-operation, In the publication and circulation of this request, of every editor in the country who has ever, in tho columns of his paper, given place to any fault-finding against, sneers at, or ridicule of trailing skirts. They look, also, for the thanks of women and the hearty approval of men.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Surgery during the 19th Century

I'm sorry this post comes late today. I was out of town for the past two day helping my parents while my dad had to have a second procedure on his thumb. He nearly cut it off several months back with his table saw. Yesterday's surgery was to try and improve the flexibility of the thumb. In the end the surgeon was pleased with the op and is hopeful. We're continuing to pray that dad will regain full use of his thumb. My dad works with his hands, even though he is retired he is quite active.

All of that is to say why I picked this topic. I found a great resource and wanted to share it with all of you. It is Illustrated Manual of Operative Surgery and Surgical Anatomy ©1864

What I love about this book is the illustrations. There are illustrations of the tools used, some of which have not changed much, others you might find very crude but it is what they had to work with at the time. They also give a brief name and description of each of the tools. Unfortunately it is a poor scanned copy of the book but it is readable. It is a good tool to give a quite overview of what you might be looking for if your character is in need of surgery. Or what kind of surgery might have been performed on your characters during the Civil War.

If your story is set before the war you might be interested in A Dictionary of Practical Surgery ©1823

Another source for much later in the 19th Century is Pye's Surgical Handicraft ©1893

And for those characters who might be delivering a baby here's a link to Obstetric Surgery ©1895

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

1866 Fashions

It's Historical Fashion Wednesday and today we're concentrating on 1866 and primarily male fashions.

Oddly enough these were called Riding Dresses but I believe they were for riding in a coach.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wagon Train & Prairie Resources

Over the years I've posted several blogs regarding wagon trains and traveling west. Below is a list along with a few other items of interest for those of you writing during the 19th Century Historical West.

Westward Ho!
Westward Ho! Part 2
Westward Ho! Part 3
Westward Ho! Part 4
Westward Ho! Part 5

Conestoga Wagon One of the most common used as the Prairie Schooners.

Oregon Trail Outfits

Prairie Traveler Water

Prairie Traveler Livestock

Prairie Traveler Boots

Tabacco Alternative

Prairie Traveler Food Sustenance

Prairie Traveler Medicine

First Major Wagon Train

Pioneer Preacher

Each of the Books listed below are available for free on Google Books:
The Prairie Farmer

Prairie Traveler ©1859

Story of the Wild West and Camp-fire Chats by Buffalo Bill ©1888

Illustrated Sketches of Death Valley and Other Borax Deserts ©1892

Boy Life on the Prairie ©1899

The Romance of Conguest ©1899

Monday, March 24, 2014


Yesterday I celebrated my 40th wedding anniversary with my husband and while the day was full with church activities, Paul and I managed to celebrate the day before with a delightful time in New Smyrna Beach. Which brought to mind our early days of married life to our current days.

Which brought to mind Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book suggestions for a young housewife has some advice that seems fitting. It's more about attitude than on the practical.

This work is designed primarily for young and inexperienced housekeepers, and the following suggestions are presented as the advice of many judicious and experienced matrons in our country, to their young country-"women, who are to follow them in the trying duties of housekeeping.

Nothing in this country is a greater source of suffering to housekeepers, than bad taste in their style of living and expenditure. Good taste is that nice perception of fitness and propriety which leads a person to say and do whatever is suitable and appropriate in all possible circumstances. Such good taste is ordinarily the result of good feelings and well-cultivated mind, and an acquaintance with the world. Yet this correct taste is sometimes found in minds that have enjoyed but few advantages, but by nature are endowed with refilled feelings and good common sense.

Where this good taste exists, it leads a woman to wish to have her house, furniture, and style of living, in all its parts, exactly conformed to her means, and her situation. If she is not rich, she will not wish to have a house, or furniture, or dress like those who are rich, and will find a pride and pleasure in making a small house, plain furniture, simple dress, and an economical table, so neat, and orderly, and comfortable, and tasteful, as to ensure comfort and satisfaction to all around her. If she cannot command good domestics, nor live comfortably in a house, and with furniture which requires them, she will aim to alter the style of her establishment, and adopt one which can be thoroughly and successfully carried out by such domestics as she can obtain.

Where good domestics are scarce, it is a very great mistake to attempt to live in a large house. The labor of house cleaning, and window cleaning, the sweeping, the care of furniture, and many other items of labor, are much increased by enlarging the size of the house. In the country, where good help is scarce, a house on the plan of one of the cottages drawn in the Domestic Economy, with bed presses instead of chambers, will be found to be a great saving of labor, and the expense that might be incurred in building, furnishing, and taking care of chambers, can be laid out in making conveniences for carrying water, and furnishing the kitchen properly. The drawings for this purpose in the Domestic Economy will be found useful in this respect.

In cities, nothing is more pernicious to a housekeeper's health, than going up and down stairs, and a woman who has good taste and good sense, will not, for the sake af show, keep two parlors on the ground floor and her nursery above and kitchen below. One of these parlors will be taken for her nursery and bedroom, even should all her acquaintance wonder how it can be, that a wife and mother should think her health and duties of more importance than two dark parlors shut up for company.

When a woman has good sense and good taste, these are some of the things she will not do.
She will not be so anxious to obtain admission into any circle as to seek it by a conformity to its fashions, which will involve her in labor, or expenses that lessen domestic comfort, or are inappropriate to her income.
She will not be particularly anxious to know what the fashion is, in dress and furniture, nor give up any important duty or pursuit to conform to it. Nor will she be disturbed if found deficient in these particulars, nor disturb others by making apologies, or giving reasons.
She will not, while all that is in sight to visiters, or to out-door observers, is in complete order, and in expensive style, have her underclothing, her bedroom, her kitchen, and her nursery ill furnished, and all in disorder. She will not attempt to show that she is genteel, and belongs to the aristocracy, by a display of profusion, by talking as if she was indifferent to the cost of things, or by seeming ashamed to economize. These things are marks of a vulgar, unrefined person, that fancies that it is money, and not character, that makes the lady. And by persons of education and refinement, such things are always regarded as indicating a vulgar, uncultivated mind.

Let a young housekeeper, then, adopt these maxims as her guide in regulating the style of her dress, fuini tuie, table, and the size of her house.
Do not begin housekeeping in the style a which you should end it, but begin on a plain and small scale, and increase your expenditures as your experience and means are increased.
Be determined to live within your income, and in such a style that you can secure time to improve your own mind, and impart some of your own advantages to others.
Try to secure symmetry in your dress, furniture, style of living, and charities. That is, do not be profuse in one direction, and close and pinching in another.
Cultivate a taste for intellectual pleasures, home pleasures, and the pleasures of benevolence.

Have some regular plan for the employment of your time, and in this plan have chief reference to making home pleasant to your husband and children. It will save them from a thousand snares, and you from many sorrows.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

An Anti-Fashion Movement

I found this editorial article interesting with regard to fashion, the fashion world and how changes were affecting the industry. The article comes from Arthur's Illustrated Home Magazine ©1874

EDITOR HOME MAGAZINE: The New York Times has given to tho world a perverted and fallacious report of tho doings of an anti-fashion convention recently held in Vineland, New Jersey. It is true there were certain persons who, having made dress reform a hobby, naturally felt themselves entitled to take a prominent part in the proceedings; and to those who were prejudiced, or who desired to ridicule rather than to think, these perhaps furnished an opportunity for sneers and fault-finding. Cut by far the larger portion of those taking part in the proceedings of the convention were earnest, intelligent men and woman, including tho very best citizens of Vineland (than whom no town has better), and who gave to it a character for sobriety and moderation far beyond that which its most ardent friends had dared in advance to hope for it, knowing as they did the discordant nnd almost unmanageable elements which were sure to compose it.
This convention has, I believe, a significance which time alone will reveal. Its platform—a broad and a sensible Otic—is the embodiment of tho spirit which is manifested among sensible people everywhere, and is even expressed in the columns of our fashion magazines. It protests against unhealthful moods of dress, and against following the extremes of a fickle and unreasoning fashion; against meretricious ornament—not against appropriate ornament in dress by any means. It suggests that the dress of both men and women should be made healthful, comfortable and appropriate to its especial use,
while it recommends perfect individual freedom in the matter of dress, and guarantees to all tho countenance of those who composed the convention in exercising this individual freedom.
I consider this a step in tho right direction, in these times of panic and enforced retrenchment. There Ib not a fashion magazine in the land which should not cooperate heartily with this attempted reform, and do all it can to so modify the fashions that they shall prove acceptable to those who have pledged themselves to a better mode of dress.
Dcmorett'g Magazine, which has always done worthy battle against the street-sweeping abominations called trains/cannot but enter heart and hand into this movement. We find in the February number an excellent article touching on somo of the very points'which have to bo considered in making a revolt against fashion, from which we make an extract:
"The reactionary current which has set in against the waste, extravagance and unhealthful methods employed in tho dress of women, under the name of fashion, will probably have the effect of assisting to call the attention of intelligent women to the facts in the case, and show them what is their own duty in tho matter. To exchange one absurdity for another, or attempt to establish a uniform style of dress, is useless and impracticable. Tastes differ, moans differ, education and habits of thought differ, and all find their expression in dress. It is true, however, that tho majority have no absolute knowledge, and therefore no fixed ideas upon the subject of dress, any more than upon other questions which belong to social science and ethics, and they accept tho assertions of others, therefore, as authority—they will do this in any case, and unless, therefore, dress critics can erect themselves into a recognized standard of dress authority, their action can amount to nothing so far as the majority of women are concerned.
"Our would-be dress educators, as a general rule, lamentably fail to recognize this cardinal principle, that now methods, new principles, new motives of action, must be, in themselves, their own excasc for being at all. That is to say, their claim to equality, or superiority, must bo so obvious as to be easily recognized."
To my mind tho namo of tho convention was a misnomer, both in its intent and in its actuality. It should have been called an "Anti-foolish-absurd-extravagantunhcalthful-immoral-fashion Convention." But such a namo would hardly have been convenient to announce upon tho hand-bills and in tho reports. As long as women wear clothes, they will of necessity follow fashions of somo sort, because every woman has not the time to study out the matter of dress in all its minutiao for herself. She will from sheer necessity borrow her patterns of a neighbor, if she does not go to a fashion book for them; so it will be a fashion after all. What wo as American women should do is to shake off the thrall of the foreign fashion inventors, and daro to make the fashions for ourselves; or, what is equivalent to it, follow the lead of those who have time, conscience and common sense to expend upon the devising of appropriate and attractive modes of dress. Then we should assume sufficient individual freedom to allow us to accept or reject a fashion according as it does or does not suit us, and have courage to retain a fashion when it seems to exactly meet a want £. B. D.
Vineland, N. J.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friendly Counsels for Domestics

I thought this interesting tidbit in Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt book written for household staff. I could see potential conflict developing as I read down the list. All kinds of items came flooding in with regard to a historical I'm proposing soon. Perhaps, you'll find some interesting ideas to run with yourself, enjoy.

My friends, you fill a very important and respectable station. The duties committed to you by God are very apt to be considered of small account, but they are in deed most solemn and important.

On your faithfulness and kindness depends the com fort of a whole family, and on you often depends the character and happiness of a whole flock of children If you do your part faithfully in assisting the mother to carry forward her plans, she will be able to train them aright. If you fail to perform your part, she will be perplexed, discouraged, and disabled, and everything will" go wrong.
Every person finds troubles and trials in their lot, and Bo you must find them in yours. But trials are sent by God, not for evil, but for good, so that we, by patiently bearing them, and by striving to improve under them, may grow wiser and better, and thus more happy than we could be without them.

Whenever therefore, anything vexes, or troubles you, comfort yourselves by thinking that it is designed for your good, and reap at least one benefit, by bearing i with patience and cheerfulness.

In all your dealings with those who employ you, try to follow "the golden rule" and do by them as you will wish to have others do by you, when you are the mistress of a family, and hire others to help you.

Do you find that many things are uncomfortable and unpleasant in your present lot? Remember that you never can find a place in this world where everything will be just as you want it, and that it is a bad thing for you, as well as for your employers, to keep roving about from one place to another. Stay where you are, and try to make those things that trouble you more tolerable, by enduring them with patience. Do not fret and be angry at your employers when they oppose your wishes, but wait until you feel in better humor, and then tell them what troubles you, and what you wish they would alter, and in a kind and respectful way, and you will be ten times more likely to gain what you desire.

Do you think that you are found fault with too much, and that your employer is so hard to please that you wish to change for another? Perhaps you do not know how often you do things different from what she wishes, when she does not complain. Perhaps she tells you only just what she thinks she ought to do, for your good. Perhaps she does not know that she does find fault a great deal, or that her manner is an unpleasant one. Perhaps she has a great many cares and troubles that you know not of, which try her nerves, and make her feel very irritable, and thus speak hastily when she does not intend it.

Be patient with her failings, if you think you see any, just as you wish to have her bear with your faults, when they trouble her. If you find your patience failing, it may be well in some cases, to say to your employer, that you should do better, if she would find fault less, and praise you more when you do well But never say anything of this kind when you are angry yourself, or when you see that she is displeased.

Be careful, in all your dealings with children, always to speak the truth, and, never let them hear from you any filthy or wicked language. Never promise to do a thing and then break your word, for this teaches them to break promises. Never tell them frightful stories, or try to make them mind you by saying what is not true. Never help them conceal what they have done that is wrong, but try to persuade them to confess their faults.

Never take the least thing that does not belong to you, and never tempt children to give you what does not belong to them.
Never tell tales out of the family, nor tell to your em ployers the bad things you have seen, or heard in other families, for this is mean and ungenerous.

Do not spend your money for useless and expensive things, but learn to be economical and prudent, that you may be preparing to be a good housekeeper, wife, and mother, if ever you have a family of your own.

Do not form a habit of roaming about to see company, but be industrious in hours not employed for those who hire you, in mending and making your own clothes.

Take care and keep your person clean, and your hair and clothes in order, and have your chamber always neat and tidy.

Do not be rude and boisterous in manners, but always speak politely to all, especially to those who employ you.

Do not waste any of the provisions, or property of your employers, nor let it spoil by neglect, and never lend or give away anything belonging to the family without leave.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Read your Bible daily, and try to obey its teachings.

Pray to God to forgive your past sins, and to help you keep all his commands, and li /e every day so that you will not be afraid to die.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A list of Interesting Household Tidbits

Below are all sorts of tidbits to help one around the home. These items came from Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book ©1871 but might be found in some of her earlier volumes of this book. There are several of these I'll be using in my novels. I believe if you read the entire list you'll get excited about one or two for your novels as well.

Items of Advice.
If you keep an account of your stores, and the dates when they are bought, you can know exactly how fast they are used, and when they are wasted, or stolen.

Stale bread is improved by steaming it half an hour or more.

Grate up dry cheese, and cheese crusts, moisten it with wine or brandy, and keep it in a jar for use. It is better than at first.

Boil old earthen soaked with grease in hot lye, and I will cleanse it.

Wheat should always be washed before grinding.

When you clean house, begin with the highest room first, so that clean rooms be not soiled when done.

Repair house linen, turn sheets, and wash bedclothes in summer.

Clean house in the fall instead of spring, and you get rid of all the filth made by flies. But when you burn coal, spring is the proper time for house cleaning.

Keep coarse mats on the kitchen table for keeping it clean.

Use a coarse apron and gloves for cleaning grates. Have coal cinders sifted, and save the coarse part to burn again.

Buy your wood in August and September, when it usually is cheapest and plenty.

Have the backs of your chimneys kept clean by sweeping.

Never try a new dish for company.

To purify water, put common charcoal pounded in a common flower-pot, and fine sand over it, and let the water trickle through. Or, take an old sieve, and fill it with sand and pounded charcoal, and strain the water, and then cool it with ice.

Keep a receipt book for yourself, and write in it the improvements of your own experience.

Keep bits of potter's clay in the house, to use for a paste to extract grease from carpets, floors, and broadcloths.

Dry bran around grapes and other fruit preserves it.

All fat should be tried up once a week, for cooking, or soap grease. Good fat saves butter.

When a stove-pipe or other iron is cracked, make a cement with ashes, salt, and water, and it will stop the opening.

Faded colors often are improved by strong salt and water.

Hal volatile, or spirits of hartshorn, will restore colore taken out by acids.

Eggs are preserved longer by packing them close, 'standing on their small ends. Another way is to pack them in fine salt, small end down. Another way is to pack them, small end down, and then pour on them a mixture of four quarts of cold water, four quarts of unpacked lime, two ounces of salt, and two ounces of cream-tartar. This will serve for nine dozen eggs. Try all these ways.

Rancid butter is said, by good judges, to be restored thus :—Put fifteen drops of chloride of lime to a: pint of water, and work the butter in it till every particle has come in contact with the water. Then work it over in fair cold water.

Indelible Ink is thus prepared :—Buy three drachms of nitrate of silver, and put it in a vial with two spoonfuls of water. Let it stand a few days, then color it with a little ink, and add a tablespoonful of brandy. The preparation is made of strong pearlash water, stiffened with gum-arabic, and colored with red wafers.

Buy cheap red wafers, and scatter them about, and cockroaches will eat them and be destroyed. The roots of black hellebore scattered in their haunts is an infallible remedy.

Cold cream for sore lips, is made by mixing two ounces of oil of almonds, one ounce of spermaceti, one drachm of white wax, and melting them together, adding rose water to perfume them.

Jelly-bags should be made of flannel, and pudding cloths of thick linen, with strings sewed on to them.

Rose leaves should be gathered and preserved by crowding them into a jar with brandy, to use for cooking.

Potato starch is made by grating peeled potatoes, and rubbing them in water. Then pour off the water, after stirring it, and dry what sinks to the bottom.

Orange and lemon peel can be saved thus :—Dry it in an oven, pound it, and then bottle it close.

Orange or lemon water is prepared thus :—Pound the fresh skins in a mortar, pour in boiling water, cover close, and when cold bottle close. Or use wine or brandy.

Cologne water is made thus :—Buy at the apothecary's one drachm each of oil of lavender, oil of lemon, oil of rosemary, and oil cf cinnamon. Add two drachms of oil of bergamot. Mix in a vial, and add a pint of alcohol.

When Pearlash or Saleratus becomes damp, dissolve it in as much water as will just entirely dissolve it . and no more. A tablespoonful of this equals a teaspoon ful of the solid. Keep it corked in a junk bottle.

The following is a very useful receipt for children who go to school where blackboards are used. To make nice Crayons for Blackboards.
These directions are given by Prof. Turner, of the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, as follows:
"Take 5 pounds of Paris white, 1 pound of Wheat flour, wet with water, and knead it well; make it so stiff that it will not stick to the table, but not so stiff as to crumble and fall to pieces when it is rolled under the hand.
"To roll out the crayons to the proper size, two boards are needed, one to roll them on; the other to roll them with. The first should be a smooth pine board three feet long and nine inches wide. The other should also be pine, a foot long and nine inches wide, having nailed on the under side near each edge a slip of wood onethird of an inch thick, in order to raise it so much above the under board as that the crayon, when brought to its proper size, may lie between them without being flattened.
"The mass is rolled into a ball, and slices are cut from one side of it about one-third of an inch thick: these slices are again cut into strips about four inches long and one-third of an inch wide, and rolled separately between these boards until smooth and round.
"Near at hand should be another board 3 feet long and 4 inches wide, across which each crayon, as it is made, should be laid, so that the ends may project on each side—the crayons should be laid in close contact, and straight. When the board is filled, the ends should all be trimmed off so as to make the crayons as long as the width of the board. It is then laid in the sun, if in hot weather, or if in winter, near a stove or fireplace, where the crayons may dry gradually, which will require twelve hours. When thoroughly dry they are fit for use.
"An experienced hand will make 150 in an hour. Young boys can make them and sell to their companions.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fashion Descriptions from 1832

Images from 1832 are few and far between. Below are some description excerpts from "The Maids, Wives, and Widows' Penny Magazine and Gazette of Fashion ©1832

Hats and Bonnets.—There is not yet any decided change in their form, but we perceive that the brims have rather increased in size within the last month. We may cite among the prettiest of the new half dress bonnets, one composed of moire of a perfectly new shade of green, trimmed with a bouquet of short ostrich feathers to correspond, placed very high on one side, and the curtain at the back of the crown partially raised by a knot of ribbon also to correspond. Another and still more elegant half-dress bonnet is composed of straw-coloured velours epingle; it is a iiAi of small size, trimmed with three mergucrites, to correspond, but lightly spotted with cherry-colour. Several black satin and velours tpingli hats have already appeared; they are lined with straw-colour, or pale rose colour, and trimmed either with short ostrich feathers to correspond, or with bouquets of geraniums, or chrysanthemums. In some instances one dahlia only is employed, which must correspond in colour with the hat. If feathers are used, they must form a compact bouquet, instead of falling in different directions.

Out-Door Costume, New Materials for Mantle Dresses.— The first is the Cameleon, which well deserves its name: one side flowered in large bouquets, and striking colours; the oilier is striped. These mantles are not lined, and are so made that either side can be worn. The Macabre, a light material composed ef silk and wool, and of small patterns, with rich Gothic or flowered borders. Buridan, a silk of a new and uncommonly rich kind; it is striped horizontally in very broad stripes, in two shades of the same colour, a's emerald upon dark green, &c. &c.; the stripes are figured in satin, which also corresponds. Thibet of a new Tund, called Persian,—the patterns of these mantles offer the best imitation we have ever seen of Indian shawls. Satin & colonna, the columns formed of deeper shades of the same colour; these are equally elegant and novel. We close our list with a material of a very economical kind: it is a washing silk, in a very striking pattern of Arabesques. Among the new materials for dresses we cite the tissue of Sumatra; it is extremely soft and brilliant, and has the advantage of never creasing. Chalyt of new patterns, and shawl dresses. Satin and moire are also much in favour, both for pelisses and robes ;^ the former are most likely to be very geherally adopted. Some of the new ones are made without pelerines, with a corsage up to the throat, and full before and behind, the fulness is retained by bands upon the shoulders and by the ceinture. A trimming consisting either of dents or rouleaux, descends from the waist on each side of the skirt. It nearly meets at the ceinture, but descends in a sloping direction. Sleeves are still of thesame form, and it is generally believed that they will remain so during the winter.

Robes for out-door dresses are generally made high. We think that the skirts both of robes and pelisses have increased in width; they are worn something longer than last season. Muffs begin to appear, and will probably by the end of the month be generally adopted. Thos'e of sable are most fashionable; Isabella bear is also a fur in high estimation. Russian fox, French martin, and grey squirrel are genteel, though not expensive furs. Several palatine tippets have appeared, but they are by no means so generally adopted as boas.
Make and Materials of Evening Dress.—Some rich gauzes and figured gros dc Naples have already appeared; but the prettiest of the new materials is the Satin SylpliUe; it is exceedingly soft and brilliant; those of ribbon patterns will be most in favour. Plain Chaly and Cashmere moire, and moire Satinte, are all Ukely to be in request. The corsages of dress gowns are almost all of crossed draperies in front, with the backs plain at the top and full at the bottom of the waist. We see, it is true, a few in cross drapery behind, but they are very disadvantageous to the shape. One of the prettiest evening dress corsages that has appeared for some lime, is composed of ribbons and blonde lace: it forms the shape in a most advantageous manner, and can be worn with dresses of different materials. Short sleeves are invariably of the single bouffant shape, and generally trimmed with full knots of ribbons. Long sleeves are of blonde lace, or sometimes of white gauze embroidered in colours to correspond with the dress. Trimmings are expected to be very much worn, particularly embroidery in coloured silks, 'and in chenille. Ribbon trimmings will also be very generally adopted. The most fashionable ccinturcs are of satin figured in velvet; the pattern is usually a wreath; the velvet is of the eame colour a.< the satin, but always of a darker shade. Head-dresses in Evening Dress.—Crape hats trimmed with a bouquet of anemonies, or of chrysanthemums, or a single moss rose, or a bouquet of marabous, will be very generally adopted. Blonde lace, arranged somewhat in the cap style, but so as to partially display the hair, will also be in favor; there is something at once original and very graceful in this style of coiffure. It is supposed, however, that head-dresses of hair will be most prominent, and we have reason to believe that they will exhibit more variety than they have done for many years past; but nothing" can be certainly known upon the subject until next month. The colours that will be most in favour are sea-green, apple-green, dahlia, bleu Hatty, Esterhazy, darel-colour, and various shades ot brown and rose-colour.
Evening Dress.—It is of chaly, printed in stripes of alternate gold-colour, violet, and white; they are thickly covered with a delicate pattern of fancy foliage. The corsage is low, and ornamented with drapery folds crossed upon the hreast in front; it is plain and square behind. The sleeves are of the gigot shape, and of the usual size. White satin hat with a round brim, and very low crown. The inside of the brim is decorated with an ornament of the heart shape, composed of folds of rose-coloured gauze ribbon, and edged with blond lace. A quilling of blond net descends in the stile of a mob cap under the chin. A bouquet of roses, intermingled with knots of white gauze ribbon adonis the crown. The scarf is of white gauze.

Walking Drees For December.—A Spanish brown .in-] i mere pelisse. The corsage is high and plain; the sleeves are of the usual form. The pelerine is double: it is very large, and presents, both in back and front, the exact shape of a heart; it is embroidered an a broad rich i'ancy border, with silk to correspond. A similar embroidery, but in a larger pattern, goes down each side of the front, and round the border of the skirt. The bonnet is of white watered ffros de Naples, with a round and rather deep brim, lined with crimson velvet; small round crown, trimmed in ft very novel style, with a full band
of the same material, knots of ribbon, and a single ostrich feather. The morning cap worn under it is of• blond net, as is also the ml!' round the throat. The sitting figure gives a back view of the dress just described, but without the embroidery.

Mantles are still more generally adopted in Walking Dress than they were last month. We have seen a few fancy ones composed of Merinos, with shewy borders, printed rouml the bottom and up the fronts of the Mantles, and round the Cape. They ore not very generally worn, olid
certainly they are by no means adapted to promenidc dres*. Those of groi de Ifapta, with a plush border of the same colour as the dress, but shaded in a diamond pattern, a little darker, are much more lady like.
Sat in and velvet of dark colours are fashionable for Bonnets; the latter material is particularly so. We 3ee also some of a verv rich plain Silk; it is known here by the name of Rrps; in France it is called pros tic /mini. The shape of Walking Bonnets is a little altered, the brims are not so close, aim are all made round. The crowns are still made low; they begin to be more trimmed. A pretty and novel style of trimming consists of a full cluster of bows placed in front of the crown; those in the centre are larger than those at the sides; they are attached near the top; a twisted band of ribbon descends from this knot, traverses the crown in a slanting direction, and meets at the back under a small bow, with a cluster of short ends in the centre. We should observe- that a short full curtain, cut bias, is always attached to the back of the crown. We also see a good many bonnets trimmed with two or three short ostrich feathers, the colour of the bonnet; where this is the case they are inserted in a band of ribbon, which forms a point in the front of the crown, and descending obliquely, ends in a bow at the bottom, a little on one side; a knot, consisting of two short bows, with ends, which fall upon the brim, is attached to the bottom of the feathers. The only ornament for the inside uf the brims of Walking Bonnets is a quilling of blond net, which, instead of descending from the sides of the face only, as has been latterly the case, now encircles it. and either descends like a mob cap under the chin, or ties like a round one with a ribbon. Black 1 .ace Veils are very fashionable, more so indeed than they have been for some seasons past.
A great variety of shewy Mantl.-s I ave been introduced for carriage dress and evening panic's. The most elegant are those of grot de Naples, with plain grounds, as green, lavender, &c. &c., and broad rich painted borders. These are very fashionable for evening parties and for the Opera. Those of fine cachmere, striped and figured in a great variety of patterns, are now worn in morning drees. Some of these last have a second pelerine of the heart form, composed of velvet, which has a very rich effect.
Hats and Bonnets in carriage dress are composed of velvet, of satin lined, and partly trimmed with velvet—teny velvet, called by the French velourt ipingli, and of fancy silks and satins. Hata are most in request; they are betveen the bat and bonnet shape, neither so close as the one, nor so wide as the other. Some are trimmed inside the brim with gauze ribbons to correspond, folded across the front, and puffed at the sides; others with ribbon, edged with narrow blond lace: the crowns are decorated with flowers or feathers. The former are most fashionable. Those of spring or the early part of summer are preferred.
Shawl dresses are verv fashionable for evening parties, particularly those with , 1.11 "k green or crimson grounds, and a rich palm or flowered border round the skirt. The wearer is a lady of certain age, or the party is in genteel, but not high life. The dress is made half high, with a velvet lappel of the pelerine kind falling over, aud long sleeves, with velvet cuHs, or else long sleeves of white crlpe Hue (we give the French name, because it is known by no other), and a small velvet half sleeve. For grand parties the bodv of the dress should be cut very low, and draped across the front so as to display a white satin under body, trimmed with blond lace; the sleeves should be short, of white satin, and nearly covered with two or three falls of blond lace. Satin dresses are also very much worn by Matronly Indies. They are made in the same style, except that there is no trimming to the bottom. A variety of figured silks, which aie all known here under the name of figured grot de Naples, are fashionable both for young and Matronly Ladies; fur the former the body should be made low. A good many have a falling tucker of blond lace. Others are trimmed with it 'round the back and shoulders only. Short sleeves are beginning to be more generally worn by young Ladies, but long ones of white gauze are equally fashionable.
Head-dresses of hair are the only ones adopted by young ladies in evening dress. They are of different sorts. Some ladies have the hair parted on the forehead, and twisted up in a bow knot behind. This is called the Grecian style; it can only become a face with regularly beautiful features. Tin- half Grecian style is that in which the hair is curled on the forehead, but arranged as ubove described behind. The most generally becoming, and also most generally style is, the hair in curls or ringlets on the forehead, and in one or two bows on the crown of the head. Knots of ribbon or sprigs of flowers are employed to ornament these head dresses.
Velvet or white satin h:its with very open brims trimmed with blond lace, ribbons, and flowers are fashionable for married ladies; some hats are trimmed with feathers, but these last are not so numerous. Blond lace caps are still more fashionable, particularly those trimmed in the manner we are about to describe. The lace is turned back in the usual way, and a single rose is placed oil one side; a light wreath of foliage issues from the rose, encircles the forehead and turns partially back upon the summit of the bead round the caul, in the style of a crown. There is no ribbon employed for these caps' as the lappets are of blond lace; they are rounded at the corners and hang loose.
To the list of fashionable colours which we announced in our Number of the I7lh November, we must add dahlia, violet, and different shades of fawn colour, aud grey.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


In the historical genre I writer in the publishers have very specific things you can and can not do with regard to dancing. However, that is there lean for their readers and I'm okay with writing what they want and not writing what they don't want. However, not all of you who read my blog write for the same kind of publishers and I thought these links might be helpful with regards to Historical Dances from the 19th Century.

A Complete Practical Guide to the Art of Dancing ©1864

Brookes on Modern Dancing ©1867

Dancing ©1895 This book is nice because it isn't limited to just American Dancing.

Dancing: A Complete Guide to All Dances ©1899

The Dance of Society ©1875 This edition is interesting because it comments on dances no longer fashionable at the time.

These are some great resources available from Google books, enjoy.

Monday, March 17, 2014


I recently stumbled upon information that Licorice Root was good for ulcers and other ailments so I thought I'd see what the 19th century had to say about licorice. And basically it was used to help with some ailments. Some of the comments below are both educational and a bit humorous. The final quote comes from a fictional piece but it gives the reader the image of how licorice was sold and looked upon. Enjoy!

The licorice of commerce is mostly derived from Spain and Italy. There it is obtained by the crude process of boiling the albuminous and starchy root with water, and boiling down the infusion in copper vessels to the required consistence. Other inert substances are frequently incorporated with a view to adulterate or give it firmness. If the infusion, during the process, becomes sour, the glycyrrhizin separates, and eventually suffers decomposition by the action of the acid.
Licorice is much used in medicine; and although medicinally of little importance, yet, however, it is the desire of the pharmaceutist to furnish this, as well as all other pharmaceutical products, of the best attainable quality. Commercial licorice always has an acrid, unpleasant taste, entirely distinct from the peculiar and pleasant flavour of the root. Pharmaceutically, therefore, the crude licorice should never be used. In Europe it is purified for medicinal purposes, by exhausting the crude article with cold water and evaporating the solution to the proper consistence, which may be in three forms, namely: in powder, pilular extract and syrupy liquid. The purified preparations obtained from crude licorice, however, possess its dark colour and bad flavour, the insoluble matters only being removed; otherwise, it is no better than at first; even during this operation more of the glycyrrhizin may have been decomposed.
Source: Pharmaceutical Journal©1872

Soak one pound of picked white gum arabic in a pint of tepid water. When the gum is thoroughly dissolved, strain it through a piece of cheese cloth into a granite saucepan. Soak, also, two ounces of the best Spanish licorice in a gill of hot water. Add to the gum water in the saucepan fourteen ounces of confectioners' sugar, and stir over a moderate fire while it boils until the bubbles seem tough, and the mixture spins a thread from the tine of a fork. Now add the dissolved licorice and continue boiling until the mixture toughens when dropped into hot water. Have ready a shallow, square tin pan, well oiled, pour in the mixture, and stand it in a warm place to dry; the stove or range rack is a very good place. When it is sufficiently dry to be elastic to the touch, remove it from the heat and stand it in a cold place. When cold, turn the sheet from the pan, arid, with a pair of old scissors, cut it first into strips and then into blocks.
Source: Home Candy Making ©1889

Licorice, Gum Drops, Etc.
About the nastiest of all candies are the licorice and the chocolate conglomerations. Glue, molasses, brown sugar, plaster, and lampblack, arc among their beauties, with, for the latter, just sufficient real chocolate to give them a possible flavor. Licorice is cheap enough and nasty enough, but the addition of refuse molasses, glue, and lampblack, which is no unusual matter, makes it still more repulsive.
Metcalf & Company, extensive wholesale and retail druggists, kindly gave me the figures of cost on the first, second, and lower grades of gum arabic, glucose, etc. The first quality of gum arabic costs, by tho cask, about sixty to seventy-five cents per pound; the lowest about twenty-two. There is a new manufacture in New York, with a "side issue," wherein they necessarily turn out large quantities of glucose, — refuse from grain, — and this is sold for eight to thirteen cents a pound, to confectioners. It is much better than glue, but still the glue is used to-day, and I have on my table at this moment a sample of "gum drops "made this week in Boston from cheap glue, brown sugar, and a little Tonka beau flavor. The Tonka bean represents vanilla. These cost thirteen cents a pound, and are sometimes known, with the mucilage or glucose drops, to wholesale buyers, as "A. B." drops, to distinguish them from pure gum arabic. The unfortunate consumer, however, is not informed regarding the difference.
Source: The Funny Side of Physic ©1872

LICORICE or LIQUORICE—An American root used extensively for making the extract which is sold extensively in the form of stick liquorice, as a remedy for coughs. Licorice Cough Lozenges— Specialty; made of dissolved stick licorice and gum arabic in water to make 2 qts. thick mucilage; 2 lbs. powdered sugar, 2 oz. ipecacuanha, 1 drachm acetate of morphia, 1 oz. oil of aniseed, 1 oz. powdered tartaric acid; enough of the licorice mucilage to make paste of it, rolled, stamped out.
Source: The Steward's Handbook and Guide to Party Catering. ©1889

This is an excerpt from a story in the Harper's Round Table ©1898
This street had only one shop—which is a great deal more convenient than having a number of shops, for you can get everything in_ the same place. The window of this shop was a perpetual interest to Priscilla. It displayed, at the right and left, two jars of candy, red and white gum-drops in one and sticks of licorice in the other. A tray of marbles—agates and tallies and glassies—had a prominent position in the middle; rakes and shovels were stacked against the sides, and cotton—lace trimmings were draped back and forth across aprons and blue “jumpers”; there were cards of paper dolls skilfully exposed, and glittering tins, as well as neatly trimmed hats and cards of jewelry and small bottles of perfumery. It was certainly an interesting shop. Priscilla and Jane used to stand and look into the window, entranced and silent. There were not very many things which it seemed desirable to purchase, but that did not make any difference.
At last, however, there came a day when there was something. Priscilla and the complaining Jane had come to the shop to buy a stick of licorice to make licorice water, and, as usual, they stopped to gaze and admire before ontering. Behold, right in the middle of the window, raised upon a little duis that was covered with a blue cotton handkerchief, a pair of red shoes! Red morocco shoes, with little red heels, with white buttons, with neatly scalloped tops; little shining boots, placed heel to heel, their delicate pointed toes in the “first position"; so light, so graceful, so beautiful, and of a color more bright and glowing than any rose that ever blew!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

1873 Fashion Accessories

Today we have some fashion accessories from 1873.


Bonnet & Head Dress



Hair Combs

Work Bag

Umbrella with Belt and Chatelaine

Friday, March 14, 2014

1842 February Weather

Below is a weather chart taken from a book simply entitled documents. It is dealing with all kinds of documents presented to the Senate in the state of Massachusetts. Finding records of weather and temperatures during the 19th century is difficult but once in a while you come upon something such as this. Do searches for snowstorm, or rainfall, etc. as well as the state you're looking for. You might be surprised what you may find.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

1871 Newspaper Ads

Below are a few ads I took from an S.C. newspaper.

There were many more ads concerning travel by sea but here are three of them.

Next was an ad for bitters. There are always many ads for Bitters or cure all medicines.

The next is an ad for rodent removal products. You'll never see wording like this today

And for those of you wondering how you're going to illuminate your Historical character's home. Here's an option from 1871 illustrated.

And finally this one I couldn't figure out. I'll have to do more research but if any of you have heard of these shoes or boots, let me know.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

1873 Fashions

It's Fashion Wednesday and today we're highlighting 1873.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Irish Stew

Below are several examples of Irish Stew. The novel I'm working on now has a bloke who's Irish and well, there's a moment when he's wanting his mother's Irish stew but then he takes another forkful of the spicy cuban beef.

I've also added a poem and a comedic chorus from the 19th century referring to this common meal.

Anyway here are the various recipes.

Cutlets a la Irish Stew.
Get the best end of a neck of mutton, take off the under bone, and cut it into chops; season them with pepper, salt, a little mushroom powder, and beaten mace. Put them into a stewpan, add a large onion sliced, some parsley and thyme tied in a bunch, and a pint or veal broth. Simmer the chops till three parts done, then add some whole potatoes peeled, and let them stew till done. Serve it up in a deep dish.
N. B. Let the parsley and thyme be taken out when the stew is to be served up.
Source: Art of Cooking Made Easy and Refined ©1808

IrishStew.—There are two possible reasons for the name of this dish. The first is Hibernian—it is unknown in Ireland; the second is that the stuff of which Irishmen are made is redundant in it—potatoes. The Irish are not cooks. They are the most agreeable of companions at table, but they have done nothing to furnish the table except in the way of Usquebagh—water of life—which, however, it must be admitted is an immense achievement, worthy of the magicians, and proving beyond a doubt that in the olden time Ireland was the abode of giants.
Irish stew is a white ragout of mutton with potatoes for the chief garnish. Most ragouts are brown—it being always easier to heighten the flavour of a sauce by browning it than by trusting to mere decoction. What is called the haricot of mutton, for example, is browned. The beautiful simplicity of the Irish stew would be lost if it were allowed in any way to brown. The potatoes are so important in it that they are always double the weight of the meat, and the only other vegetable that they go with is the onion—which may be much or little according to taste. In the true Irish stew, too, both potatoes and onions are exceedingly well done, so that they are half reduced to a mash.
Take the neck of mutton and divide it into cutlets, well trimmed of the fat. No objection to some of the breast divided into squares. Season the pieces plentifully with pepper and slightly with salt. Place the meat in a deep stewpan with six or eight onions : cover it with water, and let it simmer for half an hour. As Irish stew must not be greasy, the liquor is then poured off, and poured back again after the grease has been removed. In the meantime potatoes have been got ready, parboiled and peeled. They should amount after peeling to twice the weight of the meat. They are added to the stew with a pint of broth or else a like quantity of water; and the whole is left to simmer for an hour and a half. See in serving it that it has salt enough and a decided flavour of the pepper pot.
In Scotland they produce exactly such a stew, cover it over with a crust, and call it Shepherd's pie. In Devonshire and Cornwall they make this pie, put apples into it instead of potatoes, and announce it as Devonshire, Cornish, or Squab pie. The Shepherd's pie of Scotland is evidently too farinaceous—potatoes within and paste without. The housewives of Devonshire and Cornwall are much more artistic in keeping to one kind of farina—the paste, and putting inside the pie only apples and onions. As the combination of apples and onions in the way of garniture has been long dedicated in England to pork, the Devonians and Cornishmen have also decided that their pie shall do honour to pork as often as to mutton—perhaps oftener.
Source: Kettner's book of the table ©1877

Irish Stew.—Take from two to three pounds of chops from tho best end of a neck of mutton, and pare away nearly all tho fat, for an Irish Stew should not be greasy. If liked a portion of tho breast may be cut into squares and used, but a neck of mutton is the best joint for the purpose. Take as many potatoes as will unount after peeling to twice the weight of tho meat. Slice them, and slice also eight largo onions. Put a layer of mixed potatoes and onions at tho bottom of a stowpan. Placo tho meat on this and season it plentifully with pepper and slightly with salt. Pack tho ingredients closely, and cover the moat with artother layer of potato and onion. Pour in as much water or stock as will moisten the topmost layer, cover tho stowpan tightly, and lot its contents simmer gently for three hours. Be careful not to remove the lid, as this will let out the flavour.
Irish Stew (another way).—Put some neat chops, cut from the neck of mutton, into a stewpan; they should be trimmed, and the bonea shortened a little. Braise them for half an hour, and season with pepper, salt, and a few chopped mushrooms. Butter a mould, and thickly line it with mashed potatoes; lay in the chops, and bake. When done, turn out on a hot dish, and pourr in some good gravy through an opening on the top. Time, about half an hour to bako. Two dozen potatoes will bo quite sufficient for this dish.
Source: Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery ©1883

A Poem
an "Happy Land."

Irish stew, Irish stew I
Whatever else my dinner be, Once again, once again,
I'd have a dish of thee.

Mutton chops, and onion slice,
Let the water cover,
With potatoes, fresh and nice;
Boil, but not quite over,
Irish stew, Irish stew 1
Ne'er from thee, my taste will stray.
I could eat
Such a treat
Nearly every day.

Source Humorous Poetry of the English Language ©1884

An Original Parody, by J. Brace Wright.
Air.—Bonnets of Blue.
Hurrah for an Irish stew,
Hurrah for an Irish stew,
It's season'd so fine, and its flavour's divine,
Hurrah for an Irish stew.

It's good with pepper and salt,
It's good with potatoes a few, There's nought can equal, in this grubbing world, An elegant Irish stew.
Then hurrah (or an Irish stew,
Hurrah for an Irish stew,
It's season'd so fine, and its flavour's divine,
Hurrah for an Irish stew.

If you'd ask a young lover to dine,
And have him prove kind unto you,
To make love come out of his beautiful mouth,

You should stuff it with Irish stew.
Here's a health to John Bull and his beef,

Here's a health to Sandy and brew,
Here's a health to Paddy, good luck in brief,
Success to his Irish stew.

Then hurrah for an Irish stew,
Hurrah for an Irish stew,
It's season'd so fine, and its flavour's divine,
Och ! good luck to an Irish stew.
Source: Melodist and Mirthful Olio ©1828

Monday, March 10, 2014

Historical Irish Pronunciations

I'm working on a character for my third book in my St. Augustine Historical Series and needed to find some information on the Irish brogue. I thought I'd share with all of you some of what I found.

The Irish accent, or brogue, as it is called, is equally obvious with the Scotch, to an English ear; though there are neither so many peculiarities of pronunciation, nor of the use of words in Ireland as in Scotland. Much difference, however, both of accent and pronunciation prevails in the different provinces of Ireland, according as the inhabitants happen to be chiefly of Celtic or Saxon, of English or Scottish origin. In the South and *West, therefore, the language is very different from that in the North and East. I shall first take notice of a peculiarity of pronunciation, which seems to be of Celtic origin, and is chiefly confined to the South, or partially to the Catholic population of other districts; I mean the sounding of "th" like "t," and "t" like "th," wherever an "r' follows or precedes them. It will be most convenient to give these in form of a table.

Trust. Thrust. Trust.
Truth. Thruth. Trooth.
Troth. Throth. Troth.
Try. Thry. Try.
The Celtic Irish also sound " t" at the end of a word like " rf," and " f" like" as wid for "with;" iv for " if;" bud for " but."
The next mistake which I shall mention, is common to the whole country, and in the instance of some words is also a Scots provincialism, particularly in Galloway, where the vicinity of the coasts has closely assimilated the language to Irish. I refer this remark to the mistake of pronouncing many words with the long open sound of " a" in " fare," which should be pronounced as long "e" in "me." The words of this kind mistaken by Scotsmen, are enumerated at page 226. As in the preceding example of " th" and" t" those sounds are also for the most part confounded so, that we hear both "a" for " e," and " e" for "a," as in the following table :—
Beast. Bayst. Beest.
Beat. Bayt. Beet.

It will be unnecessary to extend this table, as it may easily be enlarged by such readers, as may be interested in it by collecting all the words, having the long open sounds of "a" and " e." In the sound of " o" short, Irishmen are no less apt to mistake, giving it very commonly the sound of " a" in "far." For example, we may hear crass for "cross," acrass for " across," Lard for "Lord," Gad for "God," &c. The following are a few miscellaneous instances, which are very common errors of pronunciation in Ireland.
The words " mamma" and " papa" are pronounced even by the middle ranks in Ireland, as of the "a" at the end of the words were a short "e," as in the word " then," or something between this and a short "a," as in the word "than," whereas the terminating "a" in "mamma,'' and "papa," ought to sound like "a" in " far." To a stranger this Irish sound of "mamma" and " papa" is very offensive. The same offensive Irish sound is given to "a" in "ah," as " ah! now is it?" In some parts of Scotland, this sound of" ah!'' is as common as in Ireland—in Glasgow for example.
There is a peculiar sound of "u" common in Ireland, particularly in the North, as about Belfast, which I have little doubt has been often remarked. It is not easy to explain it, but it consists in sounding an "e" rather slightly before the "u," as de-oo for "due," te-oo for " two," tre-oo for "true," gre-oo for "grew," ye-oo for "yon." This is very vulgar.
The remark which I made relative to the harsh and jarring pronunciation of the letter "r" in Scotland, is equally applicable to Ireland; but I regret to point out a fault, which it is, I fear, impossible in most cases to correct.
With respect to grammatical accent, the only word which I can recollect at present as very striking, is the word "character," which ought to have the stress of the voice on the syllable "char," whereas an Irishman almost invariably puts it upon the syllable "ac" as if the word were written char-eckter. The same word I have remarked, is often pronounced with an opposite fault, as if it were written chareter the sound of " ac" being left out. This error, I should think it almost impossible for an Irishman to commit.
The most remarkable peculiarity of AngloIrish, I think, is the construction of the sentences, derived I have no doubt from the Celtic, though I am not sufficiently acquainted with it to exemplify or prove the derivation.— The peculiarity which I allude to is that of inverting the order of the English construction, and saying that at first, which an Englishman would say last, as in the example," The boy, is it, you mean?" for "Is it the boy you mean?" This inverted order runs through the whole conversational speech of Ireland, and if I had room I should give a table of corrected examples, but I must be contented with this single remark. I may mention, however, that it is the same principle which gives origin to what may be called the paraphrastic phraseology so common in Ireland. For example, " and it is just he sure who is the man that will do it." instead of " he is the man that will do it." No instances, which I can give, will be of much practical utility for avoiding this vulgarity. The reader must, therefore, depend upon his own observations for its correction.
Another of the Irish vulgarities of Celtic origin is, that instead of answering a plain question simply by " yes" or " no," part of the question is repeated. For example, if you put the question " does it rain to day ?" the answer will be " It does" or "It does not," instead of "yes" or "no." If you ask whether the mail has arrived; the answer will be " It has," or "It has not." The words " yes" and " no," indeed, seem to have no place in the AngloIrish vocabulary. In this respect, the Latin is somewhat similar. It would, perhaps, be wrong to assert that this manner of answering questions is always a breach of the English idiom, but when it is uniformly practised, it must be considered an Irish vulgarity.
In asking questions, an Irishman has a great predilection for the word "which," and employs it very often improperly, at least it frequently sounds very awkward, though this may be partly owing to the broad pronunciation, nearly approaching to whuch. It is most out of place when it is used, as it always is by an Irishman, if he do not hear or understand what you say. For example, if you ask indistinctly, what it is o'clock, the Irish cross question, "which ?" seems very awkward; if you remark in a low voice, that "Ireland is a fine country," you will probably hear this perpetually recurring "which?" as a counter-tenor to your bass. The French in similar cases use "how?' [comment ?] which seems no less awkward. The vulgar Scotch say, "what's your will?' and the more vulgar English, "what did you say?"
In exclamations, oaths, and bye-words, the vulgar Irish is very copious; but I must refer to the chapters on those several subjects for the few which I have thought it requisite to mention, in accordance with the plan of this work. It is not necessary, I conceive, to point out such obvious vulgarities, as by the law;— by dad;—sure and sure; Och, and indeed now; at all, at all; Arrah; Botheration; Musha; Honey; Jewel; &c, as none of those, who may read this little book, can require to be told that such expressions are as vulgar as that of using the word boys for " bachelors," or a sprig of shellalah, for a " bludgeon," en purity for " pretty," or once't and twice'I, for " once and twice."
As another instance of the peculiar use of words, I may mention "entire," "entirely," used for "whole," and "altogether,'' which in this sense are quite Irish and vulgar. Thus an Irishman will say, "I have bought the entire or the altogether of it," instead of" I have bought the whole of it;"—and " It is impossible entirely/' instead of " It is altogether impossible." In consequence of the great number of Irishmen engaged in writing for the daily papers, these expressions are beginning to be used, even in England. The word "invite" for " invitation," is also a vulgar Irish expression; for example " I got an invite to visit her," instead of" I got an invitation to visit her; or "she gave me the invite to come," instead of "she gave me an invitation to come." A vulgar expression very common in Ireland, and extremely offensive to an English ear, is used in inquiring about the character of a person. Thus instead of saying, " what sort of a person is he?" the Irish question is, "what kind is he?" This expression must be carefully avoided, as it is only used by the uneducated.
For a few other Irish vulgarities I may refer to pages 12, 17, 39, 42, 60, 65, 75, 76, 77, 94, 95, 96, 98, 102, 155, 174, &c. See also the observations on the use of " shall" and "will," "should" and "would," at page 233, above.
Source: The vulgarities of speech corrected: ©1829